Doug M. Cummings






The 2nd Reno McCarthy Mystery
Five Star, June 2008
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood


A teenage boy is killed in his own home, and the cops quickly have an expendable suspect. Readers know better. Readers know the killer entered the house on orders from someone else. Bulldog TV reporter Reno McCarthy smells cover-up, and in Wihega County, only Uncle Theo, former County Board President, has the power for interference on this scale.

With any valid police investigation blocked by government corruption, itís up to the press. Reno McCarthy still has the temper of a grenade, left over from his previous adventure, and he's up against cops who chew iron. If he can expose them, maybe he can get at their bosses.

Two names keep coming up: Uncle Theoís is no surprise, but what does Pike Wescott, head of Forge Global Technologies, have to do with it? Readers are shown that Uncle Theo is out to eliminate anyone who knows anything, and Wescott is digging in his heels the whole way. What does Uncle Theo have on Wescott, to keep him so abjectly controlled? Then there is Duane Grum, professional brute. We know he is dominated by a brother, but where is the brother hiding?

These are only a few of the large cast of characters in EVERY SECRET CRIME. Keeping track of them all makes the plot seem even more complicated than it is: the threads in Uncle Theoís hand create quite a tangle. One canít always tell if someone is a creature of Uncle Theo or not, because he is currently hell-bent on establishing a mob-based casino in Wihega County, and many people unconnected to the mob think the casino would be good for their economy.

The tone of EVERY SECRET CRIME is consistently hard hitting, aggressive. The world is full of secrets, and Channel 14 is their natural enemy. Reno is in his element in this fight. Even when informants are eager to talk, every now and then he grits his teeth just so youíll remember heís a tough guy. Given this mood, itís surprising how memorable the characters are. Author Doug Cummings writes people so vivid they burn afterimages into your eyelids.

Itís a wonder to me that EVERY SECRET CRIME and its predecessor DEADER BY THE LAKE have not yet been taken by a mainstream publisher. This is the kind of book that hurtles off the shelves anywhere mass market paperbacks are sold. I expect newsman-detective Reno McCarthy will make his mark.

October 2006

[Note: EVERY SECRET CRIME will be released by Five Star Publishing in June 2008, but it can be preordered by phoning the company. The book's webpage is http://www.everysecretcrime.com .]


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